A Metalhead's Guide To... Footballers

Football: the beautiful game, the ballet for the working classes, soccer, whatever you call it, it’s safe to say that the parallels between heavy metal and football are few and far between.

After all, swanning around your 80 acre Surrey mansion with your former glamour model WAG after being paid a ridiculous amount of money to kick a pig skin around is hardly metal, is it? Even if you do get to wear garish gold-plated t-shirts.

But, thankfully, there are a few footballers that don’t fit the mould and are far more agreeable and relatable to the metal community. Here they are!

Stuart Pearce

The former bricklaying labourer turned English folk hero wasn’t nicknamed Psycho for nothing. Pearce made a career from being one of the most intense and confrontational players of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. With a tackle like a Samurai sword and a shot like a cannonball, Pearce will forever be remembered for that celebration after banishing his penalty demons for England against Spain at Euro ’96. He also was a massive punk rock fan and is not only photographed on the back cover of a Lurkers album stage diving, but used to gee himself up by blasting the Sex Pistols at full volume before games. Which, we think it’s fair to say, worked.

If He Was A Band He’d Be: Iconic, dangerous and punk as fuck? Black Flag.

Slaven Bilic

The current West Ham manager is one of the best young coaches in the game, and used to be a cultured but imposing centre back in the ‘90s for The Hammers and Everton amongst others. He’s also a massive metal fan and currently plays guitar in Croatian rock band Rawbau, who recorded the anthem for the Bilic-led Croatian national team during the 2008 European Championships. In interviews he has spoken extensively in his love for Metallica, AC/DC and Megadeth and once promised fans his team would play with ‘The energy of Iron Maiden’ while manager at Turkish club Besiktas.

If He Was A Band He’d Be: With his intensity, innovative methods and fast-paced style, Bilic is football’s answer to Anthrax.

Olof Mellberg

If you’re taking to the field as a striker, then one of the last people you’d want to see facing you is the hulking 6ft 2” Viking bearded frame of former Aston Villa cult hero Olof Mellberg. The Swedish no-nonsense centre back looks every inch the power metal icon, and played the game with the same fearless, bullshit free attitude. The fact that he turned up to chill out with his fellow countrymen In Flames on their UK tour (when they were playing alongside Slayer and Lamb Of God in 2006) and stayed to bang his head for the whole night just makes us respect him even more.

If He Was A Band He’d Be: Massive beard, fearless warrior, Scandinavian. He’s the physical embodiment of Amon Amarth.

Julian Dicks

A man who makes Stuart Pearce look like Ronaldo, Dicks wasn’t nicknamed The Terminator for nothing. After starting his career at Birmingham City, Dicks moved to West Ham and achieved cult status thanks to his brutal tackling style and the finishing of the most ferocious penalties known to man. On more than one occasion goalkeepers were seen to be diving out of the way of a Dicks penalty, such was the power they were struck with. Having suffered a series of injuries that wore the cartilage on his knees clean away, a series of operations and the demands his playing style took on his body, Dicks was forced into early retirement and took up professional golf… seriously. He’s now Slaven Bilic’s right hand man back at West Ham, having bonded with his former team mate over their mutual loves of crunching tackles and heavy metal.

If He Was A Band He’d Be: By taking ferocious defending to extreme new levels, plus the gore and guts of serious injury, he’s the left back version of Cannibal Corpse.

Marcus Hahnemann

They say goalkeepers are crazy, but not Marcus Hahnemann. The former Reading, Everton and USA stopper would take his place between the sticks in our metal XI ahead of other metal-loving keepers Petr Cech, Kasey Keller, Victor Valdes and David De Gea due to his collaboration with Reading metallers Malefice; contributing guitar on the track Omega in 2012. He’s also spoken of his musical preference being ‘The heavier the better’, and lists Five Finger Death Punch, Slipknot, Mastodon and Machine Head as his faves. Good lad.

If He Were A Band He’d Be: Loves it heavy, is the first line of defence, wears the biggest jersey… a bit like Five Finger Death Punch.

Jurgen Klopp

The new(ish) Liverpool manager has made a massive impact in Britain already, and turned metal fans’ heads when he told of his desire to turn one the club’s brand of cultured pass and move into ‘heavy metal football’. Klopp claimed he was more of a ‘Rammstein guy’ and has used metal as an inspiration for his innovative ‘Gegenpress’ style, where players are asked to compete at an intensely high pressured style on all areas of the pitch.

If He Was A Band He’d Be: Frighteningly intense, yet highly technical. Klopp shares the same approach as The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Brian Kilcline

While all of the players mentioned above have openly expressed their love for rock and metal at some point, we don’t actually know if former Coventry, Newcastle and Swindon centre back Brian ‘Killer’ Kilcline is a metalhead. But, damn, he certainly looks like one! Known for his long hair, just as long facial hair, and an obsessive compulsion with heading the ball (former Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan remarked that Kilcline would rather dive at the ground to head the ball away than just kick it, even if it was a knee height), Kilcline spent the ‘80s and early ‘90s rampaging around football pitches scaring the living shit out of opposing players and fans. He might not even know it, but he’s metal as fuck.

If He Was A Band He’d Be: He’s the first footballer to ever encapsulate a metal aesthetic. For that reason, Kilcline is the beautiful game’s Black Sabbath.

A Metalhead's Guide To... Emo

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.